The Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) recently designed an Integrated Procurement Management System (IPMS) with a vision that contractors would not have to come directly to the Gaborone offi ce for registration. Despite this effort, users have complained of slow network speed when they try to access the IPMS during the process of online application. PPADB’s spokesperson, Ditapole Chibua-Tsheboeng said the slowness may be due to interruptions in internet connectivity. “As is the case with any new initiative, the system is experiencing teething problems resulting in delayed registration, and these are currently being attended to.
There is also a challenge of infl ux of customers who prefer going to the PPADB Customer Resource Centre instead of just registering online wherever they are,” said Tsheboeng. However, she indicated that PPADB has advised contractors during training sessions conducted across the country, of the minimum requirements to operate the IPMS in terms of internet bandwidth as well as the software required to be installed on computers for smooth running of the system. In this regard, she said “PPADB is implementing a feature to automatically check if the Users’ Systems comply with the minimum requirements of IPMS. The other contributing factor to system slowness is the uploading of scanned copies of requisite documents.
Normally, if the users upload documents that are scanned in high resolution and are large in size, it takes longer for the documents to be uploaded. The documents are also scanned for viruses as a security measure and this takes up some bandwidth. The users are therefore encouraged to upload documents scanned in low resolution.” The design and implementation of the IPMS was awarded to Nextenders (Pty) Ltd of India through Direct Procurement method in line with PPADB Act Regulations. PPADB has deployed adequate infrastructure in the form of high end servers and storage area networks to ensure business continuity.
Further, the Board has set up a Customer Resource Centre for walk in customers who may not have access to the requisite infrastructure or may have low computer literacy. This is to ensure that they are provided with equal opportunity to register with PPADB. Tsheboeng rubbished reports that the system is operated by interns. “Since the centre has been envisaged to be operational for a temporary period of about two years, subject to review, it has been strategically resourced and is manned by a team of eight graduate temporary staff. The staff has been extensively trained by the IPMS Project Team to guide users on the online registration and is supervised by senior and experienced personnel from the ICT and Contractor Registration Units,” she said.
IPMS Project Manager, Oteng Raesima demonstrated to Gazette Business team how the system works and indicated that with the system, chances of documentforgery are minimal and this helps lessen corruption cases. He however, added that currently their clients are being notifi ed through emails but they are in the process of introducing the short message service (sms). “Sms notifi cation is being explored and will be implemented this fi nancial year. Hopefully with education and system improvement the operations will get better,” said Raesima.